Sequentia

Ensemble for Medieval Music. Benjamin Bagby, Director

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Sequentia celebrates its 40th anniversary in March 2017
 
 

Contact

E-mail: info@sequentia.org

Representation
(Europe)

Katja Zimmermann
VCzimmermann@gmx.net

Representation
(exclusive of Europe)

Seth Cooper
Seth Cooper Arts Inc.
4592 Hampton Ave.
Montréal, QC, Canada
www.sethcooperarts.com
sethcooper.arts@gmail.com
Tel: 514-467-5052

 

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Programs

Voices from the Island Sanctuary:
Ecclesiastical Singers in Paris (1180-1230)

New Year’s Day

In the days following Christmas, a number of feasts were celebrated at Notre Dame during which various lower groups in the cathedral hierarchy (priests, deacons, subdeacons, and even the choirboys) had their own day to assume full power in the church and control the entire operation of the liturgy. This ancient tradition, which was probably linked to pagan winter-solstice practices, was a harmless and benevolent moment of lightness in the liturgical year; but by the late 12th century the Parisian celebrations began to get out of control, with incidents of blasphemy in the church, clerics dressing as women, fighting, and indecent displays of youthful (male) energy. The Feast of the Circumcision, on New Year’s Day – which came to be known as the Festum Fatuorum (Feast of Fools) – belonged to the subdeacons, a group of underpaid, overworked young men (mostly former choirboys who were now the principal daily vocal soloists in the choir) who were particularly notorious for their naughty songs and scandalous pranks in the church (many involving the cantor’s “rod” – baculus – a symbol of authority in the choir). When a Papal legate complained about their behaviour in 1198, the Bishop of Paris finally had to issue an official reprimand, and these raucous festivities were severely curtailed, at least temporarily. In their place a number of new musical compositions were provided for the boys and young men to sing, as an attempt to channel their youthful energy into serious rehearsals and the propriety of carefully-managed celebrations, instead of the spontaneous revels which formerly marked this feast.

Texts

Annus renascitur

The year is reborn! Let us be joyful now! The old is cast out, and the new Adam is born. Let us rejoice at the year renewed! The baculus is passed around… a new sun rises … the clouds depart! Let us be joyful now!

Novus annus hodie

Today a new year urges us to begin joyful praises… therefore, let us celebrate this annual feast, loosing the chains of sin, giving drink to the thirsty, healing the sick with this medicine, as joyfully we sing as a memorial:

[refrain]: Ha! Ha! He! He who truly wishes to sing should make praise with three gifts: with his mouth, heart and good works he should labour, so that he might live and please God!

He is worthy of memory whose end is joyful, worthy of great praise whose kindness is without end, who created the heavens, the earth and the sea. Thus he ruled the world with his Word, and was concerned to enrich man, to command his subjects, and according to his will give him immortality.

[refrain]: Ha! Ha! He!...

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Upcoming Concerts

01 March 2019
Swarthmore PA (USA) Swarthmore College
Charms, Riddles and Elegies of the Medieval Northlands

24 March 2019
Köln, Forum Alte Musik
Monks Singing Pagans

11 May 2019
Trollhättan Early Music Festival, Sweden
Beowulf

12 June 2019
Boston Early Music Festival (USA)
Charms, Riddles and Elegies of the Medieval Northlands

16 June 2019
Putney, VT (USA), Yellow Barn Festival
Beowulf

See full concert schedule

 

News

Benjamin Bagby's teaching activities in 2019

In March 2019, Benjamin will give two weekend courses on the solo songs of Philippe le Chancelier (d. 1236). The courses are being hosted by the Centre de Musique Médiévale de Paris. Dates: 9-10 and 30-31 March.
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After retiring from his teaching position at the University of Paris - Sorbonne, where he taught between 2005 and 2018 in the professional masters program, Benjamin Bagby continues to travel widely in 2019 to teach practical workshops for young professionals:

Folkwang Universität der Künste (Essen-Werden, Germany).
Benjamin has joined the faculty of this renowned masters program for liturgical chant performance and medieval music. The dates of his courses in 2019: 5-7 April; 26-28 April; 17-19 May; 30 May–01 June.
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For the second year in a row, Benjamin will teach an intensive course in the 8th International Course on Medieval Music Performance (Besalú, Spain): Songs of the troubadours (for singers and instrumentalists).
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Amherst Early Music Festival (Connecticut College, New London CT) 21-28 July:
An intensive course on the solo cansos of the Occitan troubadours, with a focus on songs from the great Milan songbook Bibl. Ambr. R71 sup. (for singers and instrumentalists).
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